Malacañang on Saturday, January 20, stressed that voters’ education is crucial in making sure Filipinos are aware of any proposed changes in the country’s Constitution to shift to federalism.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. said in a press briefing in Kalibo, Aklan that a massive information campaign was needed before conducting a plebiscite for the proposed constitutional amendments from Congress.
“Bago naman po tayo magkaroon ng plebisito, talaga naman pong yung voters’ education ang importante. So doon po sa budget na gagawin nila… para doon sa plebisito, importante po na maglaan din ng substantial amount nang maintindihan ng mga tao kung ano talaga ang ninanais nating baguhin sa Saligang Batas,” he said.
The House of Representatives recently adopted a resolution convening the two chambers of Congress into a constituent assembly, which would be tasked to revise the Constitution to pave the way for a shift to federalism.
After which, the proposed revisions will be submitted to and voted upon by the people through a national plebiscite.
Roque for his part said a nationwide information drive would properly educate the public on the benefits of a federal form of government.
The Cabinet official then reiterated President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s commitment to push for federalism as a way to spur regional development by giving local governments power over their own resources.
“Sa Pederalismo, wala na pong desisyon ang Central government kung makikinabang ang mga lokal na pamahalaan sa kanilang mga tanging yaman dahil talagang sa kanila po ‘yun,” he said.
“Ang Pederalismo po talaga ay kinikilala na ang mga benepisyo at ang serbisyo, mas mabilis maparating sa taong-bayan kung ito’y ipadadaan sa mga pamahalaang lokal,” Roque added.
Meanwhile, the Spokesperson gave his assurance that the President would not meddle in Congress’ discussions on the federalism proposal.
This was in line with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’ threat that he would give zero budget to provinces whose leaders would not back the move to a federal government.
“Ang paninindigan po ng Presidente, hindi po siya nanghihimasok sa gawain ng Kongreso. Ito pong pagbibigay ng suhestiyon kung ano ‘yung dapat marebisa sa ating Saligang Batas ay katungkulan pa rin ng ating Kongreso na umuupo bilang isang Constituent Assembly,” Roque said.
He added that the President believes in Congress’ authority as an independent body and will not intervene in its duty as a Constituent Assembly.
Palace asks for public understanding on MRT-7 construction
During the same press briefing, Secretary Roque called for the public’s continuous understanding and cooperation as heavier traffic is expected with the start of Metro Rail Transit Line 7 (MRT-7) construction activities this January.
“Humihingi po kami ng pang-unawa sa anumang abalang maaaring maidulot ng ginagawang konstruksyon. Lahat ng ito ay pansamantala lamang. Panandaliang hirap na ang resulta ay pangmatagalang ginhawa,” he said.
Affected areas include North Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City and Quirino Highway in Caloocan City.
Roque said the construction of MRT-7, including its 14 stations, was expected to be completed by 2019. He added that an estimated 420,000 passengers daily would benefit from the rail system that would connect North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose Del Monte City in Bulacan. ### PCO-Content